February 4, 2023

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The oil fund has increased its investments in Israel

In violation of international rights: An Israeli settler raises a flag in Hebron in the occupied West Bank.

On Friday, Israeli media reported that the oil fund would review investments in illegal Israeli settlements. The claims were rejected by Norges Bank – on the other hand, it increased investments.

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According to an Israeli newspaper Haaretz The oil fund should review all its investments in Israel to ensure it is not funding activities or settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The newspaper was among several media outlets that cited official, but anonymous, Israeli sources.

The government’s Pension Fund Global – known as the Oil Fund – is managed by Norges Bank. Executive Communications Director Marthe Scar rejects the claims:

– I can deny this. There is no new information from our side. He tells NTB that such decisions are made anyway as a result of the ethics council’s recommendations.

Ethics Council Evaluates the oil fund’s investments and makes recommendations to Norges Bank’s board. The council is appointed by the government.

Investments will increase

According to NTB’s review, the oil fund now invests in 42 companies linked to solutions. That’s 15 more than in 2020 — when the news agency did a similar review.

The UN Security Council has previously determined that Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal and in violation of international law.

In 2018, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights a “The Blacklist” On companies operating or incorporated in residences. 112 companies – most of which are based in Israel – are listed.

This is the list NTB took as its starting point. With 42 companies, the oil fund invests in every third company on the UN blacklist.

There is currently no outlook for the oil fund’s investments through the end of 2022.

In 2021, the oil fund decided to divest from three companies as a result of Israel’s actions in illegal settlements.: Ashstrom Group, Mivne Real Estate And Shabir Engineering and Industry.

However, as of early 2022, the fund still had investments in Ashstrom and Shabir. According to him own perspective Funds have not been recovered from many such institutions during the current year.

Supporter: Israel’s incoming defense minister, far-right nationalist Itamar Ben-Gvir, is a staunch champion of establishing more settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. He himself lives in such a settlement.

– No grounds for exclusion

International legal expert Cecile Hellestweed is one of the members of the Ethics Council. In 2020, in the Council’s view, business in Israeli settlements will not lead to exclusion – even if the companies are on the UN’s blacklist.

– The threshold for withdrawal from the oil fund is high, he told NTB at the time.

International legal expert: Cecile Hellestweed is a member of the Ethics Council. Here he is photographed in 2017.

– Earning income from Israeli settlements in the occupied territory shall not be grounds for exclusion. The nature of the business concerned with aggression or other violations of international law will be decisive.

LO: – Very problematic

The LO and the international trade union movement are strongly involved in this matter. In a recent report, it was established that oil funds once again topped the list of European financial institutions investing in companies linked to Israeli settlements.

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Among other things, the oil fund owns NOK 4.5 billion worth of shares in five Israeli banks that help finance construction activities in settlements.

– The oil fund, which manages the community’s money, continues to invest in banks that finance the construction of settlements in occupied Palestinian land, said LO Vice President Steinar Krogstad. Free trade union movement Early in the month.

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